by Max Brantley
The Thursday line commences. Closing out:
* YEAH, IT'S HOT: A record 107 in Little Rock last I heard, hottest June day ever. What's another degree or two among the wilted?
* WEST MEMPHIS SWEATS MURDER VICTIM'S MOM: I wrote last week about the FOI suit filed by Pam Hicks, mother of one of the children killed in the West Memphis Three case. She wants to see evidence in the case. Police wouldn't cooperate. She sued. Now, West Memphis City Attorney David Peeples is stringing out the FOI hearing process, something that's supposed to happen quickly by law, by refusing service of the West Memphis Police Department. He wants Hicks' attorney to pay $50 each to serve each of the four named defendants, rather than just agreeing they'll show up. Hicks' attorney, Ken Swindle, notes that Peeples didn't put the same requirement on the Dixie Chicks when they had to subpoena the West Memphis police to appear in court in a case in which they were involved.
* OBAMACARE: WW III is underway on this issue. But I was amused — thinking of increasing Tea Party control of Garland County — that one of the dozens of response e-mails I got today was a news release from the combining Mercy and National Park hospitals in Hot Springs cheering the decision as an assist to "efforts to ensure quality health care for the Hot Springs region." Said the release: "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is ultimately an attempt to solve a health care problem that all providers face – the challenges of curbing health care costs and improving the quality of care provided." Try to tell that to one of your nearby Republican state legislators, intent on blocking implementation of as much of the law as possible.
* COP SHOP CHANGEOVER: Lt. Terry Hastings ended 18 years as the public face of the Little Rock police department today. He was promoted to captain this morning and is taking over as leader of the Southwest Patrol Division, covering a part of town where he grew up. Sgt. Cassandra Davis, who's been working with Hastings, will be the new public information officer and Officer Michelle Hill will work with her. Hastings was just about never out of touch, no matter the hour, even when the subject was one the police might have preferred not to discuss.
* NEIGHBOR CONCERNS LIKELY TO KILL BUICE DRUGSTORE DEAL: The Little Rock Board of Adustment has approved a proposal to allow shared parking between a potential buyer of the Buice Drugstore on West Markham in Stifft Station and George Jett, owner of a service station across Johnson Street on West Markham. The potential buyer, Brian Teeter, wants to put a restaurant with alcohol service in the property, after substantial renovation, but doesn't have enough parking with just the small lot next to the Buice store. The drugstore, owned by the late George Wimberly and something of a political haunt for power brokers for decades, is in need of serious work. Neighbors, however, raised sufficient concerns about the proposal that a real estate agent representing Teeter tells me Jett might decide not to follow through on the parking arrangement. That, in turn, probably would scotch the real estate deal. Trey Prewitt, the agent, said his client was sensitive to the neighborhood, too.